DOT Trumpets Safety Apps

The agency says the Safety Data Initiative launched in May is bearing fruit, with tools to help home and car buyers, farmers, and law enforcement officers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's FastLane blog highlighted the Safety Data Initiative this week, showing some of the new tools available there to help with everything from buying a home to monitoring hurricanes and checking drought conditions and news about federal drought relief.

DOT partnered with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to launch the initiative in May. "The result, safety.data.gov, is an effort to release freely available government data to build products, services, and apps that advance public safety in creative and powerful ways," according to the Sept. 19 blog entry, which provides information and links about several of the tools, some of which were showcased Sept. 14 at a White House Safety Datapalooza:

  • PulsePoint, from the San Ramon Fire Protection District, is an app allowing CPR-trained volunteers to be notified if someone nearby needs emergency assistance.
  • Commute and crime maps from Trulia help home buyers consider these when shopping for a home.
  • Hurricane App from the American Red Cross monitors storm conditions and helps people prepare themselves, find help, and let others know they're safe even if the power goes out.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans a January release for its SaferCars app to provide vehicle safety ratings, defect reports, and child safety seat information. The Natural Hazards Data Community on safety.data.gov will provide information on natural disasters, and in the next few months these tools will be available:

  • "Tie One on For Safety" is an infographic challenge from Mothers Against Drunk Driving that asks for compelling visuals derived from drunk driving data.
  • Drought Code Sprint is a USDA call to use data to help farmers, ranchers, and others gain "one-click" access to information on drought conditions and federal drought relief.
  • The Body Armor Challenge from the National Institute of Justice seeks a way to predict performance changes over time for bullet-resistant vests worn by law enforcement officers.
  • The Workplace Safety Challenge from the Department of Labor will educate young workers about safety and health risks in typical work situations.

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